Re: Changing my brake pads
Doh! Same here. The 'tail' is for the 'low pads' warning light. ONE of the beauties of disc brakes (as introduced for the likes of Le Mans Jaguars) is the simplicity of changing pads, especially with calipers like ours ("double acting"). You shouldn't need to get involved in anything hydraulic at all and the whole job can take a minute or two (well, in the pits at Le Mands anyway). The principle is that as the pads wear, the pistons move 'out' toward the disc surface, so fluid is tranferred from the reservoir to the 'bigger' cylinder. When you put new pads in, you need to get the pads back to their starting position, so you need to force the fluid back into the reservoir from the caliper but there shouldn't be any need to open the hydraulic system, so no fulid out or air in. On the GTV and other Alfas, the exception is the calipers which are also handbrake-operated, i;e; the rears. Here the addition of the handbrake complicates things just a little and you need to 'screw' the pistons back in , not just puch them. This is because there is a mechanical self-adjustment for the handbrake built in which is like a thread in side the piston.
One note of CAUTION, just make sure you're reservoir isn't so full that it overflows when you push all the pistons back. Normal brake fluid is among the most vile fluids known to man imo and really loves paintwork - better than nitromors. Spoon/syphon a bit out if it gets too full.
Also on the subject of brake fluid, it has a shelf life on account of the fact that it absorbs moisture and really should be changed every 3 years or so. This seldom happens and our cars are all crying out for it unless they have been really conscientiously maintained. The main reason I recommend this is because the absorbtion of moisture encourages corrosion and eventually seizure of the pistons. Then new pistons & calipers. Apart form that it lowers its boiling point and the stuff gets dirty too (rubber debris). I also recommend changing to silicone brake fluid if you get the chance - it doesn't affect paint but is a bit expensive.
Finally - and totally unsolicited but along a feintly similar vein - has your anti-freeze been changed? Also very important and seems often left out in services (whoever performs them). Anti freeze protects the engine from corrosion internally. This it does in a self sacrificial reaction which means after a few years it isnt' doing it any more. It results in blocked radiators, overheating (rated along with cambelt failure as an engine-wrecker) and leaks. And if I haven't bored/depressed you quite enough, my radiator is sha@@ed! Nast blue stain visible across the back of it under the bonnet slam panel.